Representatives of ÖGB, GPA, vida and younion were convinced on the “Day of Care” – with reference to the demonstrations on Thursday – that the package is a success of years of union pressure. “This reform shows that union commitment pays off,” said Barbara Teiber, chairwoman of the GPA union. “Our long-standing pressure has had an effect. In fact, today one of the largest reform packages of the past decades was launched,” Edgar Martin from younion acknowledged in principle.
In terms of content, the unions rated the reform largely positively, many of their demands (wage subsidies, more holidays) had been taken up. Now it comes down to implementation – and Ingrid Reischl, head secretary of the ÖGB, wants to “take a close look so that everything is actually implemented in the interests of those affected”. However, it is clear that the plans presented are not sufficient, noted Sylvia Gassner and Gerald Mjka from vida: “Further steps and investments for all areas of the health system must follow.”
WKO sees demands taken up
Approval also came from the Chamber of Commerce (WKO). WKO General Secretary Karlheinz Kopf gave a positive assessment of the fact that the government “is providing additional funds, has announced sufficient time for the assessment and detailed elaboration by the social partners and has also taken up important demands from the economy in the measures presented”.
“The measures presented are undoubtedly suitable for contributing to relaxation, even if missed decisions cannot be compensated for overnight,” stated Walter Marschitz, Managing Director of Sozialwirtschaft Österreich (SWÖ).
Government presents care package
On Thursday, the international “Day of Care”, the government presented a package of measures for the care sector. In the next two years, the area will be supported with one billion euros, said Social Affairs Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens).
consent of aid organizations
The reactions of the aid organizations, on the other hand, were positive. In the announced “care reform, an important step seems to have been taken,” according to Volkshilfe. In a broadcast, President Ewald Sacher stated “that many long-standing demands by Volkshilfe and other social organizations have been taken up.”
“We have waited a really long time for the care reform, actually too long. But the care reform measures presented today actually contain decisive steps in the right direction. And as far as the financial volume is concerned, we also recognize that we are finally thinking in the right dimensions,” says Othmar Karas, President of the Austrian Aid Organisation.
On Thursday, the Evangelical Diakonie and the Catholic Caritas were largely positive about the care package presented by the federal government – more on this in religion.ORF.at.
Association of municipalities expects another big hit
The President of the ÖVP Seniors’ Association, Ingrid Korosec, sees the “start of a comprehensive form of care that will also include sustainable financing and the expansion of mobile services'”. Association of Municipalities President Alfred Riedl also acknowledged the “first important step in strengthening the care system” and expected “another major reform” to secure long-term financing for the future.
Women’s and Family Minister Susanne Raab (ÖVP) considers the reform to be welcome from both a women’s and family perspective. 60 percent of those in need of care, more than 80 percent of the care and nursing staff and around 70 percent of the caring relatives are women, she reminded them.
The opposition was not really satisfied. Different reactions came from SPÖ politicians: Vienna’s social councilor Peter Hacker was pleased – with reference to an expected “next improvement package” – that “the first noticeable steps towards a care reform are being taken”. And he praised the fact that “after years of stagnation, modern socio-political tones are finally being heard again from the Ministry of Social Affairs”.
SPÖ social spokesman Josef Muchitsch acknowledged the efforts of Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens), but criticized: There are only “announcements that again raise more questions than solving the urgent problems in care”.
“The federal government remains true to its staging policy. Lots of headlines, little content,” criticized the FPÖ. “In essential areas such as teaching or 24-hour care, there is nothing but headlines. The biggest financial chunk goes into bonus payments for 2022 and 2023. These are right and important – but What happens after that? Will salaries then drop again? Why should someone start training as a nurse today if the salary is only as low as it is now after successful training?” asked social spokeswoman Dagmar Belakowitsch.
Even NEOS health spokeswoman Fiona Fiedler could not quite understand the great jubilation about the announced reform. “Structural problems cannot just be filled with money,” she pointed out, pointing out that the fragmentation of care financing will remain, as will the lack of recognition of care services.
Measures limited to two years
All those measures in the package presented on Thursday that lead to additional costs are initially limited to two years (until the end of the legislative period). Rauch justified this by saying that action should be taken quickly.
Minister of Social Affairs Rauch on the care package
Social Affairs Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) presented the cornerstones of the package of measures with which the government wants to achieve improvements in the care sector in Vienna.
“The motto was: ‘Now quickly’ – because it was rightly demanded that action be taken quickly. We didn’t want to wait for the financial equalization negotiations (with the federal states, note).” The minister admitted that continuing beyond the two years mentioned would be an “enormous challenge” – now you have a step “for the next two years ” made.
The package will be implemented step by step – the first measures should be decided in the National Council before the summer, said Greens club boss Sigrid Maurer. The “breakthrough in the care reform” is also a “success for equality policy,” she said. ÖVP club chairman August Wöginger said that a good package had been put together that would cover the need for 76,000 additional nursing staff by 2030.